General view of Infrastructure in India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg) 

Development Agenda For 2022 Soon, Says NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog will soon come out with a development agenda for 'New India 2022', which will spell out strategy for expediting economic growth, its Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said today.

Kumar further said NITI Aayog will start working on a 15-year vision document after finalising the development agenda document for 'New India 2022'.

“The work on the strategy document is on advanced stage and will most likely be titled Development Agenda document for New India 2022,” Kumar told PTI in an interview. “Once this document has been completed and put in public domain, the work on preparing 15-year vision till 2030 will start,” he added.

NITI Aayog had earlier planned to come out with three documents – three-year action agenda, seven-year medium-term strategy paper and 15-year vision document.

The think-tank, in a presentation last year, had said the foundation for freedom from six problems – poverty, dirt, corruption, terrorism, casteism and communalism -- will be laid by 2022 when India celebrates 75 years of independence.

Replying to a query on disinvestment of public sector units , Kumar said, "There is now an effort to try and unlock the potential value of equity in some profit-making PSUs by taking steps to improve their performance and then monetise part of their equity so that the government could benefit.”

"This process is intended both to improve performance of these PSUs through greater public accountability and generate maximum revenues for the government," he added.

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The Prime Minister's Office had earlier asked the think-tank to look into the viability of disinvestment of state-run companies and the Aayog has already recommended strategic divestment of 40 sick PSUs. The government expects to raise Rs 80,000 crore PSU disinvestment in the current fiscal.

Referring to the recent banking frauds, including over Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank scam, Kumar suggested that the P J Nayak Committee on corporate governance in public sector banks, which recommended some measures for improving governance in PSBs, should be looked at.

"And this includes establishment of holding company of the banks. Running straight to the privatisation of PSBs, I think is a knee-jerk reaction and needs far more analysis," Kumar noted.

Kumar also made a strong pitch for simultaneous elections across the country saying it will permit better economic decision-making as it will release pressure on decision-making which is brought about by constant elections.

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"The very important reason for simultaneous elections is that continuous elections may lead to lower voter turnout and this will erode credibility of whole electoral and democratic process," he asserted.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also strongly pitched for simultaneous elections to Parliament and the state assemblies.

Kumar also emphasised that there should be no confusion about government's electric mobility policy.

The NITI Aayog has been mandated to build a framework and co-ordinate with other relevant ministries and departments to ensure that necessary steps are taken to accelerate the electric mobility program in India, he observed.